Friday, December 14, 2012

The Sorrow of Today

     Today we watched the news as a terrible story unfolded. The pictures and video showed us the faces of terrified children. One little boy no older than 8 sat with his Mom, his hands were clasped tightly over his mouth, his eyes wide with shock. A mother was shown weeping and falling to the ground as she talked on the phone, the look of confusion and pain on her face broke my heart. The pictures brought it all home. Today I pray for everyone involved in this incident, I pray for comfort, and for us to remember this, and fight for a better future. I have never been one for prayer without action, you can't wait around for the world to be fixed.
     One day during the first week of school, I was picking up Kaitlyn and she said something that shocked me a little. She said 'Mommy, I'm scared of getting shot at school'. I thought ok, you can't always protect your kids from life, so I asked why she was scared. She said 'we have drills, the teacher says a word and turns off the lights, then we hide and we are very quiet, that way a person with a gun couldn't find us'. My first instinct was to take her home and never let her out of my sight again, but what would that help?
     When I was in High School Wedgwood Baptist here in our area was attacked by a gunman, he shot kids at a see-you-at-the-pole rally. Recently a movie theater in Aurora Colorado had a similar incident, kids were killed there too. Last week a man bought a gun and didn't realize a round was chambered, as he got into his car the gun went off, killing his young child. The man tried to preform CPR to no avail, what must he have felt as his child died in his arms? Those are just a few cases of what is going on in our country. We have double the number of school shootings than the rest of the world... COMBINED.

     Awful, hateful people are cashing in on this today, 2 of them happen to be professing Christians.

and this post from Victoria Jackson's Facebook page
                    My friend Jim Riley posted this today:

"Wasn't the Connecticut killer just doing what abortionists do every day? It's a wonder we don't have more 20 year old "dads" doing what women and doctors have been an accomplice to for years in America. When you forget the TEN COMMANDMENTS, people, THIS is what you get."

This behavior is atrocious, and I'm pretty sure the God I believe in wouldn't endorse this. I am saddened by these attitudes, I wonder if these people know they are turning many away from the Lord.
     I am personally a gun owner, we own multiple handguns and rifles. We practice caution first, safety of our kids is of dire importance. So I say this as a gun owner. I would give up my guns if it would cut down on this violence, however I don't think outlawing weapons would help. I agree with restricting weapon types, disagree if you want, but I don't think we need assault rifles. That alone won't help though, we need to educate EVERYONE who purchases a weapon in the US. They need to have safety classes and classes on gun care. This wouldn't stop the massacres, but it would stop some of the singular accidental shootings caused by ignorance of the weapon. Some people feel like the anti-gun agenda is being built on the bodies of innocent victims, but we have to ask why there are enough innocent victims in our country to build an agenda out of it. I don't seek to belittle today's deaths by backing a political goal, don't get that idea.
     Besides that there isn't much to say on it. No laws or legislation will give back the lives we have lost. It won't cure the scarred hearts of the kids who survived today. The best thing we can do is make a positive change in the world around us. The good people need to stand up and be heard, because in these incidents we see amazing people who show what is truly right with this world.

     -A 13 year old risks life and limb to try and rescue a 6 year old, the younger girl sadly didn't make it.
     -A security guard goes back into a Portland mall with an active shooter on scene to save the mallgoers
     -many heroes emerged during the Columbine shooting. A boy jumped on top of people to protect them. A 15 year old held an exit door open so that people could escape, he was killed in the process. Here is a list.

Do not lose heart, do not lose faith, if you don't believe in a higher power don't lose faith in humans. In the darkest of times we see who is great, because there is usually 1 or 2 shooters, however there are multiple heroes in every case.

(some of the links are bad, copy and paste)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cherry picking, and my problem with the Bible

    I am confused about how people view the Bible, but the way I see it you either believe it is all literal, some part a parable, or not true at all. My issue is with some of the people who see it as all literal, and totally relevant in modern times. I'm Baptist, so really most of the Old Testament rules aren't applicable anymore. We eat 'unclean meat', and the NT (New Testament) says specifically that circumcision isn't a must. So all things considered for this specific blog, I will only be talking about the NT, specifically 1st Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 14:34
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

1 Corinthians 11:6
For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered

     These two verses are straight out of the KJV of the NT. Yet why are they ignored in the modern church (in most protestant sects). I know as Baptists we don't follow it, lots of women come to church without hats, some even have short hair. I'm not saying we should follow these verses, all I'm saying is why follow some and not all. If you consider the Bible literal and modernly valuable then how can you quote scriptures against homosexuals, birth-control, and not backing Israel, but not live these. It really takes away from the validity of what you are saying.
     Gifts of the spirit are also spoken of in Corinthians, it says plainly that some people have them, yet I know of churches who say people don't speak in tongues or prophecy, once again, that is Cherry Picking, and it ruins credibility.

1 Corinthians 14:39
Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues

     I guess these specific verses where in my heart because they embody some of the very reasons why I doubt my faith sometimes. Even after I get over the fact that the Bible values men over women (don't give me the separate but equal nonsense, according to some scripture I'm a bad woman because of the way I live). Even past that I see that the church agrees with me, so it glosses over this scripture. I don't mean to take this out of context, I only bring it up because it is such a huge cause of personal conflict.
     The gifts of the spirit thing bothers me because my Mom is a huge believer in this gifts, and over the years people have told her that her belief is misplaced. That bothers me because I don't see where they are coming from. It's like people who only believe in the King James Bible, as if it's a direct translation from the original scrolls, it's not...
    I was bothered by this yesterday, so hopefully writing it out will help me gain some clarity. I know some Christians have reasons for not following this, and some do follow it totally. I just wonder how we can expect people to see us as truthful and valid if we don't ask ourselves these questions.

Faith Confusion

      So anyone who reads this blog knows I have been on a kind of spiritual journey over the past 2 years. It has been a hard one, on one hand I have met with resistance, disappointment, and anger from some, but others, others have been kind, and surprised me in ways I couldn't even imagine. I have made friends, and gained a confidence I never knew I could have.
A needed apology

   To those who think I have been hard on the others of my faith, or hateful to people. It was never my intent to upset anyone. If you know me, you know my humor can be cutting, and mean, but I really don't like to actually hurt feelings, or make people feel bad. My philosophy has always been to try and treat others the way I would want to be treated, but I fail frequently, and I am sorry for that. I guess the reason I have been harder on my own faith, is that I was struggling to understand it, to grow in it. The best way for me to do that is to exercise my doubt, and I have been shown that this comes off as harsh. I am so thankful that my Christian friends have stuck through this with me, they have kindly reprimanded and help me see the good in our religion. My family has been a huge part of this, though they have been confused by my actions they have stuck by me, and I love them even more for it. I am also thankful for my non-Christian friends, who remain my friends even though our ideas on God (or a lack of one) are very different.

Things I don't apologize for

      Just because I am sorry for the way I have bothered people with this, doesn't mean I'm not strong in my conclusions.
     Yes I believe in marriage equality, I don't believe this effects my salvation in any way. I don't approve of using my faith to legislate the morality of others, I feel that it's not only a sin to force my faith on others, but also a crime of the worst kind. I do not have any hate for those who don't believe the same as me on that issue, but my anger lies in the lack of trying to understand why I may feel the way I do. I am passionate about this, and my posts, blogs, and attitudes will continue to reflect this. If it bothers you hide my posts, and ask me not to discuss it with you, I will respect that. Just for the record I am not gay :).
      I believe in abortion, birth control, and In-Vitro. I don't think God has anything against modern medicine, that's really all that needs to be said about In-Vitro.  I am not Catholic, but the quiverfull lifestyle is becoming more and more common in our church. Much respect for those who live it, that is your choice, just as it is mine not to. Don't tell me all good Christians home school, because it isn't true. Some good Christian women have to work, either out of necessity or desire, and some have no desire to home school. I am a terrible teacher, teaching wasn't a gift God gave me, so my kids go to school. Sometimes I wish I could home school, but it isn't going to happen. I also believe birth control is a good way to control family size. It doesn't cause miscarriages, it stops ovulation. IUD's are the only form that stops implantation or fertilization. I don't use one because of my beliefs, but it's MY belief, not to be put on someone else. Abortion is a sad subject, do I think life begins at fertilization? maybe, I personally believe it begins at implantation when it starts to grow, 1/4 of all pregnancies end before implantation, that's why I believe that's the point of life, but once again that's just me. I believe taking abortion rights away would not stop abortion, it would just add to the number of dead pregnant women. Outlawing sin doesn't make it go away, that is a proven fact. I also can not begin to comprehend being pregnant due to rape, therefore I can't say anything about it. I do believe that abortions shouldn't be allowed after the point of viability, unless in the cases of severe deformity.
       I am not a republican... I'm not a democrat either. I don't believe the republican party best embodies my values. I try to keep faith out of it, but even if I didn't, I still don't think they embody my Christian values. I hate being told to change my vote, give me a good argument and I will listen, but don't tell me to change and give no reasons.

     To rap it up I hope that I can be forgiven for any anger you have felt from me. I hope you will feel free to discus, or not discuss, my opinions with me. I will respect you either way. I will listen to criticism with an open mind and heart. I may not change, but know that I will pray over it, think about it, and research it. Even if I debate, I am listening...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If you have ever said poor people shouldn't have iPhones read this.

     I am a member of what is aptly named 'the working poor' and I am sick of the statements being made about those of us on welfare. I get so frustrated with the Facebook posts and things that are said to my face that I want to hurl. Yes I have an iPhone, and a laptop, and even an iPod, does that bother you? Yes we get foodstamps, under $100 a month, but it is helpful. So lets go through some issues I have noticed.
      First off I have heard it said that you should get rid of college grants. I've heard people say they don't want their taxes going to help people go to school. What I would like to say about that is why not? Do you realize how expensive school is? One semester of UTA nursing school is just 1000 dollars less than I make in a year. I got a job to help with bills and school, but it really doesn't cover much. I'm just lucky I don't have to put the kids in daycare, because that would take literally my WHOLE paycheck, all of it. Safe to say I can't afford school on my own, and the catch is, if I don't go to school then I can never, never make a life for myself. I would have to keep living paycheck to paycheck forever, and I want more for myself and my family, surely you can respect that.
      The next thing I hear is that people on welfare shouldn't have iPhones or other expenses that aren't absolutely necessary. Well first off I got my phone as a gift, the other stuff I bought when things were good. Some months things are great, some months we have extra money, we put some in savings, but sometimes we buy stuff for ourselves. I think we deserve it, me and Stephen work hard for what we have. He works a physically intensive, exhausting, hard job, he is a good father and husband, so he does this job to take care of us, he goes everyday, and he works hard. I work a job that most people wouldn't want to do. I take care of people who are awesome, and I love them, but it's emotionally taxing to a point I can't even describe, at least once a shift I consider locking myself in a bathroom and having a panic attack. I've been kicked, bitten, knocked out, spit on, called every name in the book,and worse. I think every now and then we should be able to buy something we want. I also think every now and then I should get to take my kids out, or buy them things they want. Like I said things are good right now, and they will be for awhile, but I know they will get hard again, so even though I bought stuff, I also put money in our savings, so that we can float for awhile. However, I know if a car breaks, or I need another surgery, we will be in trouble.
      Calling all poor people lazy, is like calling all Christians fundamentalists, it's just not true. Sure some people work the system, but most don't. We truly need the help, and we only take what we need. We work just as hard as anyone else, and why should it mean less then other peoples work just because we make less. There is only room for so many at the top.
      I have tons of other issues... How can you be against birth control and abortion, but you are also against welfare? If you are Christian why aren't you actually doing what Jesus would do? I also don't believe most voters have really researched the issues. Romney has no actual tax plan, yet people say he will fix our economy, does that seem logical? Obviously the other guy hasn't fixed things. So why do what we did before and expect better results? Stephen believes if Romney is elected things will immediately get better, because the large corporations want him to win. So they will hire a bunch of people they are holding back on hiring right now. People will say, so glad we elected him, but in reality anything he does won't actually work that fast, and the uptick in jobs will be artificial.
      Some of Obamacare is really awesome, free vaccines, pre-existing conditions accepted. If they do away with his plan will these things be taken away? That won't be good at all. This really has nothing to do with faith or religion, these problems exist among the faithful and the Atheists. I'm not trying to pick on one group of people. I just with people would exercise some empathy before saying things.
We have strayed pretty far away from the original intent of this Blog, I realize that, most of that is because we are living through a pretty intense election year, and have become interested in politics. I would love to post more on Religions, but I have very little time, and the research involved just can't be done right now.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

National Coming Out Day: Mom, Dad, I have something to tell you

     No, I'm not gay, I am a straight, cisgendered, female. I was born in the right body, with the right parts, and I like boys for the most part. Things in that area have always been pretty simple for me, but lets face it, not everyone has it easy. Luckily I come from a family, who even if I was gay, would still love me. They would be shocked, concerned for my welfare, and scared for the things I faced in the future, but they would never choose not to love me. Many people have to live with the fear that if their parents, family, and friends find out who they truly are, they would be shunned. That is not okay! I'm disappointed to live in a country where some people aren't allowed to marry the person they love. Not only that, I've heard people say that homosexuals CAN'T love like straight people. Who the heck are they to say that just because you are gay or transgendered your love is not equal to theirs. That they aren't deserving of the same recognition for their commitment by their government and peers as a straight person is. Recognition that they are dedicated, and working hard for a lasting relationship. Maybe recognition that they are parenting a child together, a child they want to raise in a world where things are equal. Don't we all want the next generation to grow up in a safe place, where you can say, hey, I'm gay, and not fear being beaten or mocked?
     I had never heard of National Coming Out day prior to this year, but I think as a group we need to come together and decide that all people need to be accepted and loved. No more hating the sin and loving the sinner, no more saying that you are showing your love by pointing out what they are doing wrong. That is just hate speech dressed up. I DON'T CARE what religion you are, or what political party you are, everyone deserves certain rights.
     What if your husband or wife was in a serious car wreck, you would want to comfort them, but a homosexual couple in a civil union doesn't have this right. Imagine the person you love is laying there, hurt, maybe near death, scared for sure, and you can't even hold their hand. Now imagine your spouse dies, where do the kids go? In a straight marriage they go to the other parent, no questions asked, for a gay couple in a civil union that isn't the case. Now they have to fight for the child that they have raised just like any other parent. Now imagine you are the child, one of your parents is dead, now you may loose the other, surely NO ONE thinks this is okay. How does that not make you sick?
     I'm so very tired of people saying things like "it's against the Bible" or "marriage is one man and one woman" or "it goes against my God". I don't care if you think it's against your faith, I don't care and you shouldn't either. This country IS NOT a Christian country, if you think it was a country founded by Christians, for Christians you need to take another History class or 2. It was founded by people seeking freedom, the freedom to be who they were, the freedom to worship as they pleased. I don't care if you believe they are born that way, or it's a choice, EVERYONE SHOULD BACK EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS. To deny anyone a civil right shows that you lack empathy. If you ask yourself honestly, what would I want for my kids, parents, sister, or brother, and you answer honestly you would want them to be with the person they love. It won't hurt or belittle your marriage, any injury to marriage is one that the straight community has caused. Spousal abuse, adultery, apathy, we did this ourselves. The idea of marriage has always existed outside of Christianity, if you believe it's just a Christian institution then why don't you get upset when Atheists get married. Remember St. Valentine, he married Christians outside the law, that's right, CHRISTIANS WEREN'T ALLOWED TO GET MARRIED, and now we are doing that to others?
     I didn't care at all about this issue, or any issue for that matter, until about a year and a half ago. It didn't effect me, so I didn't care. No one close to me was gay, even now, I don't have any close gay friends, no one in my family is gay, but it's an issue that effects us all. This touches me, it hits a chord with me, and it should with everyone. No religion has the right to govern others. I don't believe this is what Jesus or God would want. Whatever God you worship (or not), whatever prophet you believe in, I don't think they would be okay with this, and if they were, that is not a God I would worship, or a prophet I would revere.
     Do not be mistaken, this is a Civil Rights issue, say it isn't and you are kidding yourself. No one should be allowed to deny a Civil Right for ANY reason. It is crazy that this is still up in the air. This isn't a Biblical, religious, or political right, it is just right.
So today is National Coming Out Day, and Mom, Dad, I have something to tell you, and I know you will respect it, and I know you will still love me. I am not gay, but I believe in Equal Marriage Rights, and I think everyone should.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What I want in a candidate... By Stephen

A list of things Stephen would like from a presidential candidate.

1. I don't need gun control
I like guns, and I think everybody should have one. If you don't want people to kill each other then you were born on the wrong planet. Americans were given the right to have guns just in case they needed them for another revolution. I don't think our founding fathers imagined the government they were setting up would last as long as it has.
Gun violence would exist even we had gun control, criminals don't follow laws, and you can't gun control away the crazy. You'd also be a lot less likely to talk in a movie theater if you thought the guy
behind you was packing. "What was that, was that text important" <shoots the iPhone>.

2. I am tired of the war on drugs; so stop it.
Has our war really done anything at all? I mean, right now I could drive ten minutes and talk to a guy who could pretty much sell me anything I want. True the war has made it more expensive for me to buy drugs, but I can still buy them. Oh, I know, the war was meant to make drugs expensive so organized crime syndicates could make loads of money in order to gain huge influence in small countries. Look, just legalize them and tax the crap out of them. It'd be cheaper.

3. Let Rod and Todd get married.
Come on people; what the Hell is wrong with you? How can you deny people the right to loose half their stuff in a divorce. Think of how fabulous those weddings would be. You will let the most vile sycophantic serial rapist murderer get married as long as it's to somebody of the opposite sex. That's just crazy. Priorities people, please get them straight.

4. Concise and adequate tax policies.
Anyone who pays taxes knows the whole system is effed up. I would pay more if it would help, but I don't think it would. I know of people who skirt the tax brackets. Make a certain amount get taxed % of what you make. Then get a raise and get taxed more, but bring home less over all. I know people who pay nothing and get huge tax returns. Others who pay more in than I make in a year and still owe more come tax time. A flat tax seems like it would work, but where do you set that mark. 10% I guess, but it's something I don't know a lot about. Just make the entire system simpler. I seem to remember an incident involving tea and it had something to do with taxes. It was probably important, but it slips my mind.

5. Respectable foreign policy.
We seem to get really involved in other countries when they have something we want. If you have oil we are in, live in some crap country with no resources, well that sucks. You'll just have to live with that militant dictator that is killing all of your people. Call us when you find gold or oil. If we took our substantial military power and used it to benefit the countries who needed the help most I think a lot of people around the world would be more supportive of our country in general. How many homes could have been built in Africa with the money we spent on bombing Iraq? If we weren't in a lot of places where we shouldn't be there might be less hate.

6. I like stem cells and so should you.
Nobody really knows the benefits of researching those little guys. They could be the cure for everything or be useless. The thing is we don't know. Why should we limit ourselves when the possibilities could be endless.

7. I could use some socialized medicine.
Why is it that all other major economic super powers of the world have this and we don't? I don't pay the policemen to kill the bad guy. I don't pay the fireman to put out fires. So why do I have to pay the medimen to unbreak my legs? At least in my own town anyways. So we have the best medical system in the world; as long as you can pay for it. We already have social programs for everything else, what's one more? Bet you could pay for it with the money you save not fighting the war on drugs.

8. Abortion needs to stay legal.
I'm a guy, so as far as I'm concerned my opinion doesn't matter on this subject. Let the ladies get this one. I wouldn't do it myself, but I don't want the option to not exist.

9. They're taking our Jobs!!!
This country was founded by immigrants. It was built by immigrants. It is maintained by immigrants. We rock and people want to live here, why keep them out? If they don't find work a lot of them go home. I'm not 100% on what sort of government assistance these guys get. If they get any at all. Which is fine I guess. They keep this country running and will continue to do so as long as we continue to rock. If you want them out then suck more.

10. Believe in whatever invisible being you want, but don't use it to dictate the way I choose to live my life.
If you have some holy book that says it's wrong, but you have no reason other than it irritates your personal deity, then it's not a real law. This country was founded on libertarian values of freedom from tyranny. I'm willing to bet that most of them weren't even Christan's. I find it irritating that people use a 2000 year old manual to decide things for a country filled with people who may or may not believe in it. Using it to justify ludicrous sanctions and regulations on people and their activities is completely counter productive. Religious doctrine is what gave us the dark ages, the Renaissance was fueled by people breaking away from the accepted religious governmental practices. Jesus didn't say nothing about no YouTube.

There isn't a candidate out there who wants what I want. I live in Texas so my vote doesn't count unless I vote Republican. I honestly think the whole country is messed up. I think the only way it will ever be fixed is if we are forced to. So I say vote for the worst candidate possible. Break the thing until we are at war, with a 50% tax rate, and 10 dollar a gallon gas prices. Then maybe, just maybe we can throw away the crap system we have in favor of a better one.

                                                                                                              Professional Apathist
                                                                                                                     Stephen Hatfield

Why I stopped going to church

     I tell people it's my schedule, fact is that's a half truth, which means it's a lie. So I apologize to everyone at my church for saying it. Here is the truth, I was mad at a sermon. This may seem petty and shallow, but after having to comfort my sobbing child after what she heard in a sermon, I just couldn't listen anymore.
     It was a few months ago, I had been going pretty regularly (this is before I had my job, my schedule really does prevent most church attendance). The preacher was preaching on families. He said a few words about equal marriage rights, I thought, I don't agree, but hey, he is allowed his opinion, I don't have to agree. Then he went on, he started talking about what a family should be. I prayed right then, please take a different path, please just SHUT-UP. I thought, why don't we have a children's church... because I knew where he was going.
     See, most people in my church are Christians, married to other Christians, who home school their wonderful Christian kids. They are right wing, they are in the middle class, they are the social norm in our church. Not to say anything negative, I love the people there, they are some of the nicest people I have ever met. I feel safe among them. Some of them are my friends on Face Book, they know my stance on things. Have I ever gotten one disparaging remark, no, they are the best of the Christian community, and have cemented my love of Christ, I can't say enough good things about them.
     They aren't like me in one important way though, our upbringings, our families are very different. Yes, I am unequally yoked to an Atheist, yes I am liberal in my social issues. I don't home school, we are poor, and both me and my husband come from a shady past. On this Sunday the pastor said that a home should be two Christian parents. My daughter perked up, she knows Stephen isn't Christian. He said some more on the subject, I watched her. He said non-believers went to Hell, I watched as her face fell, and tears sprang to her eyes. He said the best home is one with a Christian mother and father. She whispered something to Grandma... and that was it for me, I was angry.
    So what if it's true, does my 6 year old need to hear that her Father is going to Hell, or that her parents made a mistake in getting married. Anything else the pastor had said was now washed away by my daughter's tears, and all I could hear was this sermon.
     We discussed it later. So I read to her out of Corinthians

1Corinthians 7:12-14     
To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

    She had a ton of questions, we talked for a long time, at the end of it she wasn't much better. I understand that adults can deal with things like that, but she is all but a baby, why couldn't the man have just left that part out. I'm not sure how people will feel after they read this, but the fact is, until my daughter is old enough to deal with such painful things, I can not let her hear things that will wreck her. Things that teach her fear instead of love, hurt instead of hope. We should rejoice in faith, not be sad.
     I hope in the future I get up enough courage to say all this to my pastor. I feel he is a kind man, and will try to be understanding, but part of me thinks he will laugh at me... Silly heretic, of course your daughter needs to hear her Daddy is going to Hell. I really miss my church friends, and hope I can get over this fear soon. I still wouldn't be able to make it every Sunday, but at least I wouldn't be scared to go.